Mario vs Donkey Kong Review
Mario is know as a great platforming gem in gaming. First appearing in the arcade game "Donkey Kong", Mario, known as "Jump Man", has become almost like a house-hold name, featuring over 200 games and spanning over several gaming systems. Most were classics, but a select few (Mario is Missing, for example), weren't so great. With so many games, there had to be one that involved and focused mainly on Puzzles, and not just the kind that involve you to fit together a jigsaw. I found one that looked promising enough that wasn't fan made or created in flash: Mario vs Donkey Kong. With a combination of great platforming and puzzles, this is sure to be a great game.
The first thing that concerns me is the opening scene. You see Donkey Kong flicking through the channels with his remote....if you can call it that. There's just one button on it. What if you want to turn up the volume? also, those are a lot of bananas in the background. He's doing pretty well for himself. Then Donkey Kong comes across a advert for a new Mario toy, with the repeating cliche slogan of "Buy one, buy them all!" Now, I'm pretty sure there is only one type at the moment. So why would you advertise someone to "buy them all"? Why would you want more than one? But I digress. Donkey Kong falls in love with this idea (quite literally, with hearts in his eyes and everything), and wants to buy one, or maybe possibly "buy them all" is he was that moronic. So let me get this straight. Donkey Kong, the ape who was defeated by Mario, wants a toy of Mario, the man that defeated him......WHY? Also, the graphics in this scene almost match those to Pac-Man World for the GBA, but I'm pretty sure this came first. These sort of graphics almost make me feel, although the graphics are good, that the developers were being lazy, like in Mortal Kombat. I digress again, sorry. So Donkey Kong somehow gets to the city and wants to buy one, but they are sold out. He them comes across the Mario Toy Corporation, and as the screen scrolls up, the legendary music from Donkey Kong plays. As I hear this, I am motivated to play this game, despite what the intro has thrown at me.
So as you start the game, you see Donkey Kong break in to the corporation and steals several toys at once. Again, probably taking the "buy them all" part of the advertisement all too seriously and wants as many of the same wind-up toys as possible. Then Mario comes in to save the day (words I never thought I would usher), but Donkey Kong makes a quick get away. Mario talks a lot more in this game, and it's really pleasing to hear him say more than "lets-a go" and "it's a me, Mario". The voice actor did a really good job with his voice in this game. And so the aim of this game is to rescue (if that's possible) all the Mario toys and defeat Donkey Kong. A plot that seems to fit really well in a Mario game, oddly enough.
And this is where the game really begins. When something new is introduced to the game, there is a tutorial before you start that level, showing clearly what you need to do, what buttons to press, and where you must stand. These are surprisingly well done. They even fit as much as they can in it and at the same time make it so fluid. For example, pressing down and A will make you walk on your hands, deflecting the falling objects with your feet (that kinda makes sense), but then, at the end, there is a 2-block high wall, which the game shows you that jumping from your hands will make you jump higher (so Mario can jump higher with his hands than with his feet?). This sort of presentation is just amazing, and encourages you to keep watching until the very end, just in case.
The controls are great. Once you get used to Mario just jumping as high as 1-block, then you'll find the controls no problem. At the beginning of very world, you see Donkey Kong try and fit into a tiny gap, which often results in presents, Mario toys and keys to burst out of his bag. Each level is split into two rounds, the one where you need a key to get passed, and one where you need to rescue the Mario toy from its blue, spherical prison. There are three presents in each level. Grabbing them gives you bonus points, but if you can grab all three of them, then you will be awarded with a bonus stage for a chance to get extra 1-ups. Each level will have hazards ranging from ground enemies to....oil drums? Is that a flying bird dropping eggs? Could that possibly be a hammer? Does it play the music from *grabs hammer and plays hammer music from Donkey Kong* Oh nostalgia!
This game is almost like a remake of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr, but with the element of puzzles added. You die when you drop down from too great a height (if you land from medium height, then you just land on you back, unable to move for a while), you have vines that you can use to climb up and jump across, and you can use fruit to knock out enemies with the sheer power of gravity. *anime admiring eyes* This game is so awesome ^^ You can kill enemies with the hammer, and gain an increasing score if you kill more than one within that time you hold the hammer. You can also get rid of the hammer whenever you like, which is swell. If you don't have the hammer, use a trash can or a barrel to knock them out. If you don't have that, then just jump on them and hitch a ride. If you get a certain high-score (which varies from level to level), you'll get a star. The presents and fast time is critical to getting a star. As far as I'm concerned, these stars unlock new lever later on.
So once you rescue all of the Mario toys in the area, you can then play an Mini-Mario stage. Just collect the three letters "T", "O" and "Y", and lead the Mario toys to the chest. They follow you around, but they can't climb ladders. You can use this to make them go to wherever you need them to go. After that level, you get to fight Donkey Kong. You are allowed as many hits to take before you die equal to the number of Mario toys you saved. If you take a few hits, then that will affect your total score at the end. But what annoys me is that when you beat him, and try the boss again, you start with as many hits as you left with (ie, if you beat Donkey Kong with 5 hits left, you will face him again with 5 hits), so I have to complete the Mini-Mario stage again to get a chance of getting a star on that level.
Another thing that really annoys me that when you die on the second part of a level, you start with a fixed amount of time, and not the time equal of when you started that part of the level with. This means that if I die, I have to restart the level so I can get a chance of getting a star. But wait, I can't simply just hit the restart button, as that does exactly what dying does, returns me to the beginning of the second part of the level with a fixed time. I don't want to go here, take me to the start of the entire level? Would it have killed them to add a "restart to beginning" and have a warning for those who don't want to play the first part again? So when I die, I have to exit the level, and re-enter it to fully restart the level.
One last thing that annoys me is the sound effects. When you want to have a good look around the level, you press the L and R button at the same time to have a free-scan mode. But when you reach the edge of the screen, there is a really irritating and distracting fart noise. Was this really necessary to have every time to hit the edge of the screen when in free-scan mode? It's very distracting from focusing on how to pass through the level, and am almost forcing myself to turn down the volume when I use this feature. And the sound effects for when you open the door, get a 1-up and other stuff like that doesn't sound right.
Overall, I give this game an 8.9/10 Despite the intro, flaws and certain sound effects, this is a really enjoyable game. The graphics are pleasing in the accrual levels, the levels get progressively harder ad you move on, and the overall charm the game play gives is enchanting, which I don't normally see in a Mario game. This is worth a play to all puzzle enthusiasts, and Mario fans won't be disappointed.